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HomeFeaturesRoscommon FeaturesMeet the Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend presenters

Meet the Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend presenters

Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend is back!

ROSCOMMON— Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend is back in Roscommon with the Friday Night Home Opener on June 2, and the Kirtland’s Warbler Festival on June 3.

“The Kirtland’s Warbler Festival Committee is again partnering with the Higgins Lake-Roscommon Chamber of Commerce’s classic car show and cornhole tournament for SummerFest, which is expected to create a larger than normal crowd at all three events” said Mike Petrucha, Kirtland’s Warbler Festival Chair. Our main goal is environmental education, so one of the highlights for us is all the youth activities available at the Kids’ Tent.

Friday Night Home Opener

The Friday Night Home Opener will be at the Marguerite Gahagan Nature Center, 209 W. Maplehurst Dr., Roscommon, MI 48653, from 5 -8 p.m. on June 2. The speaker will be Greg Bodker presenting Birdwatching and Birding. Greg has been a serious birder since 2006, combining his interest in birds, nature, and photography as often as possible. Greg has led birding trips for Michigan Audubon and was on its Board of Directors for three years. He now enjoys delivering birding and nature education presentations to audiences throughout Michigan. Both live and virtual, the presentations have received excellent reviews and earned many recommendations. Greg has been a winner in multiple amateur photo contests including the overall winner in Michigan Nature Association’s Photo Contest in both 2020 and 2021!

Kirtland’s Warbler Festival

The Kirtland’s Warbler Festival will be at the CRAF Center, 606 Lake St., Roscommon, MI 48635, from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Beside the normal Kirtland’s Warbler tours, vendors, and fun for all, three presentations will be given.

First will be Haley Haradon presenting Deciphering survival and habitat usage between the breeding and post-breeding periods for adult and juvenile Kirtland’s Warblers. Haley is a conservation biologist focusing on avifauna as study systems. He received a dual BS/BA in Conservation Biology & Scientific Writing and Education from the Evergreen State College. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His thesis work coordinates with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to assist with ongoing research of the biology and ecology of Kirtland’s Warblers. Accessing a network of MOTUS wildlife tracking stations deployed by the Smithsonian combined with hand-held radio telemetry, Haley leads a team to study survival and habit use of Kirtland’s Warblers across the breeding and post breeding seasons. He enjoys spending long periods birding and camping in wilderness areas and traveling with his fiancée Laurel or building obstacle courses for their pet rats.

Next will be Steve Roels with Bird on the Move: Looking to the Past to Secure the Future of the Kirtland’s Warbler. Dr. Steve Roels is a conservation biologist with American Bird Conservancy and the Kirtland’s Warbler Conservation Team Coordinator. He earned his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in 2018, studying bird community recovery and ecosystem services in tropical forest restorations. He has conducted field research in Michigan, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, Vietnam, and Panama. His scientific work has been published in peer-reviewed journals including Avian Conservation and Ecology; Restoration Ecology; and Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment.

Our featured presenter is Jim McGrath presenting Michigan Snakes Alive. The founder of Nature Discovery, Jim has a degree in Wildlife Biology from Michigan State University and has over 34 years’ experience as an interpretive naturalist. He is a weekly specialist Michigan natural science teacher at Montessori Children’s House in Lansing, Stepping Stones Montessori in East Lansing and Okemos Nursery School in Okemos. He also presents an impressively wide range of Michigan-specific wildlife topics in venues across the state which are geared toward any age and demographic group. A strong lifelong interest in the natural world, coupled with an enthusiasm to share knowledge with others, is key to Jim’s popularity with students of all ages.

Our Featured Artist will be Marie Rust. A wildlife artist and naturalist, Marie is a life-long Michigan resident whose love of nature began as a child. Hours spent on the shores of Whitmore Lake taught her how to be still and observe the natural world. Over the years, she developed a deep connection to natural rhythms and to the lives that share our world. A self-taught artist, she has taken her observational skill and applied it to her artwork, creating carefully wrought portraits of wildlife. Now living on five acres outside of Bitely, MI, Marie is a partner in Bear Track Studios, LLC, a business she started with two other artists with whom she also lives. She is a member of several nature associations and has done volunteer work with the Michigan DNR through their Stewardship Program, the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, and the North Country Trail Association.

Our Featured Author is Lori Taylor. Lori is a Michigan artist/author/illustrator. As a child growing up among the pines and ponds of Clarkston, she knew that drawing, writing, nature, books, and science would be her life. She is a freelance illustrator, created many children’s educational exhibits for Michigan nature centers, and was artist-in-residence for Sleeping Bear Dunes, Porcupine Mountains, and the Literacy Legacy Fund of Michigan. Lori’s HOLLY WILD series, mixes realistic-fiction Michigan adventure with humor, science, and history to get kids outdoors to explore, and was selected as a “Great Lakes, Great Reads” from the Historical Society of Michigan and her illustration has won awards at Michigan art fairs. She has also written and illustrated books that highlight Michigan’s parks, wild places, flora and fauna, and legends from Bear Track Press in Bitely, MI. When Lori is not making books and mixed media collage art for galleries, presenting school and library programs, and visiting grandkids, she is found hiking, biking, and kayaking wild places in search of story. Lori will have story time with puppets several times at the festival.

For more details and the events schedule about Kirtland’s Warbler Weekend, see our Kirtland’s Warbler Festival Facebook https://www.facebook.com/kirtlandwarblerfestival or email at kirtlandsfestival@gmail.com.

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